Posts tagged ‘White House’

Happy birthdays!

090704tires It’s the birthday of the USA, and it’s one year since I launched the Green Zone website.

090704cornfield090704cornwall090704mlkschoolgardenWhat a difference a year makes. We have a new president, and there’s a thriving vegetable garden on the grounds of the White House.

New gardens are sprouting everywhere! A brand-new community garden in Davis Park, a new garden in the works for the Davey Lopes Rec Center in South Providence, and a bunch of new school gardens here and there. And so many first-time backyard growers, too.

In the Summit neighborhood, there are flowerboxes full of vegetables on porches, and so many people have dug up their front lawns to plant ornamentals or grow their own food.

I spied this brand new neighborhood garden in Mt. Hope (3 top photos). Neighbors have taken over an empty lot. Guerrilla gardeners? Dig the ankle high dry-laid stone wall and the badminton court, not to mention the used-tire composter. And not far away is the MLK School Garden, which looks on target to harvest A LOT of delicious vegetables.

On this Independence Day, get independent.  In a pot or in a plot, grow your own food.

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July 4, 2009 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

Eat your vegetables, Sasha and Malia

You heard it here second (maybe first?), the Obamas will plant a vegetable garden on the White House grounds.  Maybe that’s why the fountain perhaps predicted this new development by spouting green water earlier this week.

You can read all about it in the upcoming O, The Oprah Magazine:

Michelle Obama: We’re also working on a wonderful new garden project.

Oprah: Will kids get to visit the garden?

Michelle Obama: We want to use it as a point of education, to talk about health and how delicious it is to eat fresh food, and how you can take that food and make it part of a healthy diet. You know, the tomato that’s from your garden tastes very different from one that isn’t. And peas – what is it like to eat peas in season? So we want the White House to be a place of education and awareness. And hopefully kids will be interested because there are kids living here.

Just keep repeating, O, The Oprah Magazine.  O, The Oprah Magazine. O, The O…

Got a little distracted.  Congratulations to the “Eat the View” campaign. And best wishes to the Obamas, our First Gardeners.

March 19, 2009 at 7:14 am 4 comments

gardening on the homefront: Women’s Land Army of America

American women were active on every front of the War Garden movement during World War I. Much of the government-sponsored media and propaganda was directed squarely at mothers, teachers, college students, alumnae networks, volunteers, working women, and farm families. Advertisers targeted female consumers with seed catalogs, recipe books, advertisements, etc. As shoppers and preparers of food, women seized the opportunity to reshape the American agricultural industry–and the military budget–with their spending, their gardening, and their food conservation.

At home, women plowed, sowed, and harvested backyard vegetable gardens and canned their produce. At schools, female teachers and principals oversaw children’s gardens and educated American youth about patriotism and conservation. In the community garden and in the factory yard, women and men worked side by side.

Above and beyond the various elective gardening efforts, more than 20,000 women participated in a new national program which supported large-scale agricultural production. The Woman’s Land Army of America (WLAA) was organized in April 1918 to train and organize women to work in agricultural jobs vacated by men serving in the military. It followed the example of the Woman’s Land Army created by the British government in 1915.

Although the effort met with resistance from conservative farmers and some government officials, there was strong support in the White House. President Woodrow Wilson commended the “active and patriotic young women” of the WLAA, and First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson famously replaced the White House garden crew with a flock of sheep that grazed on the lawn. The sale of their wool raised $50,000 for the war effort.

Enlistees in the WLAA were paid for their labor at public and private farms throughout the country. A 1919 WLAA handbook called for an 8-to-12-hour work day, six days a week. Participants were required to wear farm gear, which became popularly known as “coveralls,” also known as “womanalls” or “freedomalls.”

Even with the armistice in November 1919, the Women’s Land Army of America remained in service. But as overseas military regiments were demobilized, men returned home to their jobs on the farm. Although the WLAA was dissolved in February 1920, it did much to advance standards for farm laborers and women alike. The program would be revived during World War II.

References: Handbook of standards for the Woman’s Land Army of America (1919).

Margaret Laughlin, “The Woman’s Land Army, 1918-1920” in Social Education 58(2), 1994.

Charles Lathrop Pack, The War Garden Victorious (1919).

July 22, 2008 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment


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